Back in January, I read Matched by Ally Condie.  I rated it 4 stars on Goodreads; to summarize my thoughts, it’s dystopian chick lit with a good story and the ability to put the plot first, ahead of the romance.  I like both love interests of Cassia, the heroine and narrator; Xander is her wonderful best friend and the intended Match for her, while Ky is a brooding rebel who treats her decently and broadens her horizons after appearing as a second Match on the datacard.

So what has Crossed brought us in the second installment of the series?  (Spoilers unavoidable if you haven’t read the first book!)

Statistics
Checkouts: 1 (It had a hold on it before I even cataloged it!)
Typical reader: Middle school girls

Synopsis: Cassia has gone to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky, after he was taken by the Society near the end of the first novel.  After a warm surprise meeting with Xander on a Match visit, she is mistakenly taken to a former village with some other girls, and finds that only two days earlier, Ky and two other boys had escaped into the Carving – a desert canyon system beyond the borders.  With another girl, she too runs off into the canyons.  Will she reunite with Ky?  What will they each learn about the Rising, the rebellion against the Society?

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

First, I would like to compliment the cover art.  The series’ covers have been beautiful and fit the stories extremely well.  The first had Cassia in her green Match Banquet dress, trapped in a greenish bubble.  This second book has a blue theme, and she is starting to break out of the bluish bubble.  The third, from the incomplete previews, will have a red theme.  Perfect.  It highlights the colors of the tablets every Citizen of the Society carries, and blue could not be better for the second book, as Cassia and the reader learns what really happens if a blue pill is consumed.

This sequel is rather different from the first novel in several ways.  Cassia is no longer the sole narrator; now the chapters alternate between her narrative and Ky’s.   The prose is still very simple from both of them, befitting the culture of the Society, so it’s probably good that each chapter is labeled with the storyteller’s name.  I didn’t have a problem knowing whose story I was reading, though.  Their experiences throughout life make them so different.  Another difference is the scope of the adventure.  It is much less restricted and mental than Matched.  The Carving is incredibly vast, the action is physical, and while there’s still plenty of soul-searching, it’s less pronounced.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know I don’t read or like romance novels.  Don’t expect this series to give you some great love story where the heroine gets swept off her feet by the man of her dreams.  There’s some undertones of romance, but Cassia seems far more interested in finding out more about the Rising than finding Ky to be her everlasting love.  For those who prefer Xander, fear not!  I think the third book -has- to go back to him, because while he’s mostly absent from this book, he’s seriously tied into the plot of this one.  And that boy has some explaining to do when Cassia sees him.

I look forward to reading that explanation.  It’s due out in November 2012.

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